Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal
employees there were friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year
and the lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait
in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. "I know," said Mamie,
'but the machine won't ask me about my arthritis."
Bits and Pieces, December, 1989, p. 2.
British statesman and financier Cecil Rhodes, whose fortune was used to endow the
world-famous Rhodes Scholarships, was a stickler for correct dress--but apparently not at
the expense of someone else's feelings. A young man invited to dine with Rhodes arrived by
train and had to go directly to Rhodes's home in his travel-stained clothes. Once there he
was appalled to find the other guests already assembled, wearing full evening dress. After
what seemed a long time Rhodes appeared, in a shabby old blue suit. Later the young man
learned that his host had been dressed in evening clothes, but put on the old suit when he
heard of his young guest's dilemma.
Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 10.
Somerset Maughan's mother was an extraordinarily beautiful woman married to an
extraordinarily ugly man. When a family friend once asked how such a beautiful woman could
have married such an ugly man, she replied, "He has never once hurt my
Kindness makes a person attractive. If you would win the world, melt it, do not hammer
The 1992 Olympics are now history, but while they were in progress a few months back,
we remembered the story of Henry Pearce of Australia, who was competing in the single
scull rowing event at the 1928 Olympics. He was leading when a duck and her string of
ducklings came into view up ahead. They were on a collision course and Pearce reckoned
that his scull would cut the string in two and sink a few ducklings in the process, so he
pulled in his oars. When the ducks passed, Pearce again bent his back to the task. There's
a happy ending to the story. Pearce won. Usually, acts of sportsmanship result in defeat.
Remember Leo Durocher's pronouncement, "Nice guys finish last"? It happened a
couple of years ago in the marathon tandem kayak racing event at the world championships
in Copenhagen. Danish paddlers were leading when their rudder was damaged in a portage.
British paddlers, who were in second place, stopped to help the Danes fix it. The Danes
went on to defeat the British by one second in an event that lasted nearly three
there's a happy ending to this story too. According to The Wall Street Journal, the
British kayakers won what many people regard as the highest honor in sports. They became
the winner of the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Trophy. The trophy is named
for the founder of the modern Olympic Games, and it has been awarded annually for the past
28 years to people in sports who have demonstrated nobility of spirit. It is big news in
Europe, but it has not been given much recognition in the United States. In the past, the
trophy has gone to a Hungarian tennis player who pleaded with officials to give his
opponent more time to recover from a cramp, and to a high school basketball coach who
forfeited the Georgia (US) state championship after he found out that one of his players
was scholastically ineligible. The first trophy went to an Italian bobsledder named Eugenio
Monti for a gesture that exhibited a touch of class. In the two-man bobsled event at the
1964 Innsbruck Olympics, Monti was the leader after his final run. The only one given a
chance to beat him was Tony Nash of Great Britain. As Nash and his teammate got ready for
their final run, they discovered that a critical bolt on their sled had snapped at the
last moment. Monti was informed of the problem and immediately took the corresponding bolt
from his own sled and sent it up to Nash. Nash fixed his sled, came hurtling down the
course to set a record and won the gold medal.
Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, pp. 4-6.